Happy Families: La Guita en rama and la Bota 70

Happy families because these two wines come from vaguely the same soleras – I say vaguely because while the La Guita en rama was apparently bottled from botas selected from the solera used to produce La Guita and has an average age of four and a half years, the Manzanilla Pasada, while sourced from the same bodega, is a selection from two very special botas in a very special room.

In any event, the family resemblance is very clear, and once again the comparison between the two is very revealing. As you can see the manzanilla pasada is only slightly darker in colour than the manzanilla, and on the nose I would say it is a little more muted, with less haybales. But whereas the manzanilla en rama comes across as jauntily characterful – a combination of citrus, chalky mineral and herbs – the manzanilla pasada seems to have the same elements but in a profile that is both more compact and richer, more harmonious, and with an added savoury, toasted flavour. Perhaps doesn’t have the sharp saline opening and finish of its younger sibling but it is beautifully elegant nonetheless.

Really top class wines the pair of them.




Manzanilla La Guita en rama, Octubre 2015

Have been meaning to have another crack at this since a memorable dinner with its maker, Eduardo Ojeda, a little while ago in Lavinia. Although I had really enjoyed it last January and again in March, for one reason or another I hadn’t come across it for ages until that dinner.

It is a wine with a lot of personality, no doubt. A rich brass colour and a very aromatic nose of citrus, minerals (rusty metal), nuts, chamomile and herbs, then again on the palate fresh, sweet seeming citrus to baked citrus, a zesty orange sponge kind of flavour, almonds to roast almonds, and sweet herbs, and the citrus lasts a long time giving a really pleasant, sweet feel to the finish.

An excellent wine. I can’t wait for this year’s saca.



Manzanilla Solear en rama, Spring 2017

The latest from this fantastic series (a release every season since 1999) comes with a black winged stilt (cigüeñuela común) on the label.

It is a beautiful dark gold colour with maybe just a hint of green, and has a very very pungent nose (almost swimming-pool like in intensity) of salty iodine and sea herbs, almost like seaweed. On the palate it is just an explosion of sapidity, full of life, with really zingy, saline heat and spicey, peppery salad flavours.

An absolute belter – love these little bottles and this one seems to have come with a bit of extra oomph.





Solear en rama – Winter 2016

Although I fully understand the arguments in fabour of magnums, I also love these little bottles – just perfect for a pre prandial snifter. This one is full to the brim with delicious, characterful manzanilla and comes with a free gift – a tiny veil of flor (at least that’s what it looks like to this untutored eye. 

And just look at that photography too – through the neck of the bottle. Absolutely top drawer blogging tonight! 

Manzanilla CZ 

I went to a special tasting of singular wines by Bodegas Tradicion last night at Taberna Palo Cortado and after the official program there were some even more exceptional extras. The first was this Manzanilla CZ – the original brand of the Rivero family, current owners of Tradicion – which had no date but based on label and bottle must have been from the 1950s or maybe even earlier (or so the experts concluded last night anyway). It was brought by the massive legend and outstanding cameraman Abel Valdenebro.

Just look at that colour – evolved from a manzanilla, but not as evolved as some en ramas that are currently on sale (naming no names), and so bright and clear. It looks incredibly clean and appetising, and you get the same impression from the nose – slightly sweet of esparto grass, but by no means honeyed or nutty. It has wandered from the path of the manzanilla but I would place it as a manzanilla pasada, although it didn’t have quite the same saline punch as either.

Finally on the palate again clean and fresh, a compact profile with no dustiness. Not a big profile or an exuberant wine and not much structure left but a nice waxiness and an even better range of flavours across the palate, from a slightly sweet of esparto grass start through a warming salinity to only a slightly bitter finish.

This is what is known as growing old gracefully – a beautiful old wine. Many thanks Abel!

Manzanilla Elias 

Yet another of the new additions to the wines available by the glass at Territorio Era. A very decent young manzanilla this from a bodega I had never heard of before last month’s Salon de los Vinos Generosos but which is located at the heart of the action – opposite Sanchez Ayala. Nice appley, sea air aroma with just a touch of esparto grass, then fresh and saline on the palate. Hits the spot.

Manzanilla de añada 2012 – 2/11 – May 2016

The visit of some good friends gave me an excuse to open this special manzanilla and see how it was getting on in the bottle after nearly a year. It is a vintage or “de añada” manzanilla from palomino fino harvested in 2012, fermented and fortified to around 15% and set aside for “static ageing” in individual botas instead of in a solera. There were 11 botas in total and this is the second bota to be bottled (hence the 2/11), on this occasion with around three and a half years under flor.

It is a lovely crystal clear gold colour with just a hint of green to it – exuding fresh green apple, and it did indeed have a sweetness to the nose and at the beginning of the palate, but more like the slight sweetness of fresh almonds, but then some spicey and bitter grapefruit notes that I associate with the time in the bottle (at least I don’t remember it quite as bitter). An exuberantly zingy mouthful and also quite full bodied, maybe even a touch heavy at the back end.

My feeling, looking back at my notes from July, October and November last year is that I enjoyed it a little more back then, particularly in November, and that this may be a touch quieter even only four months later. Unfortunately only two bottles left and one is being saved for the great vertical of 2026, but if I happen upon a stash in the next few months I may need to have another dip.